Expressing concern over ‘under-reporting’ of accidents at workplaces in India, the British Safety Council (BSC) has said that “there is no requirement to report accidents and ill health in many industry sectors.” The BSC, referring to a research paper ‘An estimate of fatal accidents in Indian construction’ by Dilipkumar Patel and Kumar Neeraj Jha, said the construction industry contributes to 24.20 percent of occupation fatalities, the highest in the country annually.
About 48,000 workers die in India due to occupational accidents of which 38 fatal accidents take place every day in the construction sector. Overall, workplace deaths are twenty times higher in India than UK. “India, with 1.25 billion population, has a strong workforce of 465 million. However, only 20 percent of them are covered under the existing health and safety legal framework. Though there are laws to address these health and safety concerns, their implementation is a big task due to lack of adequate manpower,” said Mike Robinson, chief executive officer of the British Safety Council, addressing the media to announce the opening of the BSC office in Mumbai.
Citing a 2012 report of the Asian Monitor Resource Centre titled ‘Invisible Victims of Development: Workers Health and Safety in Asia’, he further pointed out that there is just one factory inspector for 506 registered factories. He added there is poor incentive structure for health and safety function. The BSC, a charity and membership organization, is an expert in workplace health, safety and environmental management. While it has opened an office in Mumbai, it has also formed strategic partnership with the NIST institute, a leading safety training organisation, which has offices across India.